Recently the folks at Dell sought out “trade secrets” from small and medium-sized businesses to ensure on-the-job reliability. This campaign coincided with the launch of their E series for their Latitude line, which the E6320 notebook I received from them is a member of.
Ask anyone and I always have some advice to give, so I shared this, one which always creates a win-win situation when in a busy airport terminal or one without enough power outlets. It was chosen for the new Dell Trade Secrets 2 – Reliability eBook which is available for free on SlideShare.
For those of you with your images turned off or using a screen reader, it reads:
When I fly, I always bring an extension cord with multiple outlets on the end. Most always, if there is an outlet, it is nowhere near where you can find a seat. And when you do find one, it is most always taken. This way, you can politely ask if you can plug in, have them tap off of you, and you still have an outlet or 2 to share with someone else!
Mike Maddaloni | thehotiron.com
Though I may get funny looks at first, people realize I am sincere, especially when I show there are open outlets on the end of the extension cord. Thus I believe the merits of it alone were why it was chosen and put on page 10, and not because I am using their notebook. And from what little bit I have written so far can back that up, but I digress.
The Dell Trade Secrets 2 – Reliability eBook showcases some great advice from some other great business experts, such as Barry Moltz and Carol Roth. Feel free to read the SlideShare presentation on their site or embedded below, and if you have a SlideShare account you can download a copy of this eBook.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But can something that is barely a quarter of an inch square make the difference in whether people read the words of your blog?
Among the recent changes to the user interfaces and experience of Google applications over the past few weeks, favicons are now showing up next to the titles of blogs in their feed reader, Google Reader. Favicons, as I have talked about here on The Hot Iron before, are a 16 pixel square icon that is displayed in the address bar and bookmarks of most all PC/Mac and mobile Web browsers. Their real value is when scanning bookmarks or scrolling thru the history in the address bar as they provide visual cues to which site is which, providing enhanced differentiation from plain text Web URLs. For years I have always added favicons to sites I build in my Web consulting business and I continue to evangelized about them.
With the addition of the favicon to Google Reader, not only a reader can leverage this visual cue convenience, but brands of all form – personal and business – can gain by adding a visual where previously there has been just text in the list of blogs available to be read. Pictured here is a screen shot of my own Google Reader, where you can see a selection of blogs I read, along with their favicons. For most of these, the favicon extends their branding very well, such as with this blog and Active Travels, which is a client. One example here that does not leverage any branding is ChicagoBusiness.com from Crain’s. Where the Web site itself has a favicon, the RSS feed, which is aggregated with others in Google Reader, does not. I cannot say why specifically, but it must be related to how its Web server and RSS feed is configured. I did nothing unique or specific to add the favicon to The Hot Iron's RSS feed.
Another observation I made is that some blog feeds had the “default” favicon for the Web server or Web hosting provider. Many blogs – and I will spare them embarrassment buy not mentioning them by name – have a 3 by 3 grid of squares, which is the favicon for Web host BlueHost. If you don’t change the default favicon that is in a root folder on the Web server, then whatever is there will be “discovered” and used.
Favicons are a small but mighty file that can go miles to extend your brand. Does your Web site have a favicon? Let myself and other readers know by commenting on this post, as well as any questions you may have on favicons.
By tweeting this, you are entering YouthBuild Boston in a contest run by Nokia Care US, the domestic support arm of the mobile phone giant. There are 15 charities around the US vying for this, and the top 10 charities, as counted by the number of tweets they receive, will make it to the final round, where judges will select the winner of the $2,500 prize.
And I couldn’t think of a better charity to win this prize! YouthBuiild Boston, or YBB for short, is located in the Roxbury section of Boston and daily lives their tagline of “strengthening you, rebuilding communities.” This is the description of YBB which I submitted when I nominated them for this contest:
Since its inception, YouthBuild Boston (YBB) has been dedicated to improving the lives of young people of Boston by teaching skills that will enable them to become both self-sufficient and civically engaged. While YBB promotes the core values of youth development and community service, it stands out as an innovative non-profit by offering young people a hands-on approach to skills training and community building.
Its Theory of Change is predicated on the belief that, “young people, when empowered with the skills and education necessary to improve their quality of life, will realize that they can play a leadership role in strengthening their communities.” From construction to landscaping to design skills to encouraging and supporting young people to get their GED degree, YBB has become a cornerstone for all whose lives are touched by their work. During its 20 year history, YBB has helped more than 1,000 young people develop the skills and opportunities necessary to successfully enter the workforce.
YBB has adapted to the needs of the community over the years and their programs reflect it, branching out from their early programs solely on construction. They also offer the greater Boston community the opportunity to get involved, benefitting the students even more. As a result of what they do and how well they do it, YouthBuild Boston has gained a stellar reputation in the community, and with your support they can only make a greater impact.
I have been proud to support YBB for almost a decade, going back to when I lived in the Boston area, helping them with their Web technology over the years. What impresses me most about YBB is not only the amazing things they do, but also how they do it. Their level of professionalism is only matched by their dedication and compassionate service to the youth who are involved with their programs as well as to the community.
The deadline for tweet voting is this Friday, November 18, 2011. One vote per person, but feel free to pass it along to your friends. More information on the contest is available on the contest page on Facebook. As this is a contest sponsored by Nokia, and I evaluate their mobile devices on this blog, I must mention that, but it will have no impact on this contest.
Granted, the talk this week has been on the announcements coming from London at Nokia World about new Windows Mobile devices as well as new devices specifically designed towards emerging markets. However, a few months back I had the opportunity to evaluate a Nokia E6,which is still alive and well and selling in the US and other countries.
It wasn’t until I watched the video that I realized the heavy comparisons I made between the E6 and the Nokia E72, which is my primary mobile device, or my “workhorse” as I like to call it. This was due to the form factor, which are very similar. Besides that and the quality of the construction, these devices are different. On the hardware front, it has a touchscreen, something I miss from my days as a Palm user. The camera is a mixed blessing – taking 8 megapixel photos but with a full-focus rather than auto-focus camera. With some of the tests I did – mostly of my kids so I won’t post them here – the full focus worked great when they sat still (rarely) and was a disappointment when they were moving or I wanted to get a close-up shot (usually the case).
In my evaluation period I did not completely switch to using it, namely a time issue for me. But I did carry the 2 devices with me at the same time and tried similar tasks and did put my SIM card in it and used it for calls. I was pleased with its usability and liked the Symbian^3 features that I am still getting used to. The main reason I still use the E72 – the physical keyboard – is also a selling point for the E6. Granted I could probably get used to an on-screen keyboard eventually, but for how I use a device, it’s nice to have the physical keys to bang on.
Where the E6 will fit into the mix of Nokia’s devices is unclear, but I guess its price may drop, which will put a touchscreen, full keyboard mobile device in the hands of many people easily, and no need to go thru a Blackberry service as you can directly connect to POP and Exchange mail!
As you can see, I initially was told I was getting a Dell Latitude E5420, and instead it was an E6320 – I still need to pour thru the configuration, but from my initial review of the models on Dell’s Web site they are similar.
Since I made the video, here’s a couple of thoughts and items to note. I found how to turn on backlighting the keyboard, and it is a nice feature, especially when working late at night at home (note that working late at night at home in itself is not a nice feature!). It also does not run hot similar to the Dell Vostro 1410 I am using now, and will be replaced by this Latitude E6320. I have also liked using Windows 7, and it will be a nice transition from Windows XP.
The plan is to now setup the E6320 with all my software, files and any special settings and use it as the primary work PC. I had one setback in doing so from a time perspective when I mistakenly installed the hard drive encryption software and had to reinstall Windows 7 and the drivers. As the DVDs were included, this was not as painful of a process as it could have been, but it took time to do so, and I am just now getting to really using this hardware.
Over time I will share my thoughts on this Dell Latitude E6320, and you can find them here at The Hot Iron as well on Twitter – follow @thehotiron and @dunkirk. Special thanks to the Zocalo Group for offering me this machine. And as generous as they and Dell have been, it will certainly not cloud my judgment of my reviews and thoughts on this PC! As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions on it in the comments of this post.
Social Media Week was a series of events in and around social media in a dozen cities around the world, which took place last week, September 19-23, 2011. Chicago was one of those cities, and there were many panels, events and parties taking place throughout the city.
Rather than taking notes, I tweeted thoughts and takeaways on Twitter, both as a way of compiling my thoughts digitally and to share them with anyone who would like to see them. All tweets had both the #smwgovernance hashtag for the panel as well as #smwchicago for the overall event.
Here are my tweets, as well as comments and thoughts expanding on them.
RT @sanjayakrishna: Why do cars have brakes? So they can SAFELY go FASTER. Governance is an enabler not a barrier. Social Media is no different - This is a retweet of something Sanjaya posted prior to the panel, and I couldn’t agree more. In many organizations governance or risk management is brought after something bad happens, rather than being part of the solution from the beginning, where it should be.
Risk management should be a partner - via me! - This was an initial thought I had as the panel began, building on the previous retweet. Ideally, everyone in the company or organization should be on-board and supportive of social media activities, but sadly this is not always the case.
Sentiment analysis as part of social risk management - An example of a “sentiment map” called Pulse of the Nation: U.S. Mood Throughout the Day inferred from Twitter where social media activity was analyzed and shown as a heat map was presented. Tracking sentiment of your company, brand and products and services should be a part of your overall social media risk assessments.
Competitors are driving social adoption, but why? - Many times a firm will venture into social media without a net or plan, driven solely by the fact their competitors are out there. Like anything, without a plan, vision or direction, you will not be able to truly leverage your energy asserted.
Do you have a social media policy? - Many companies do not have one in any way, shape or form. Like any plan, they can be as simple as a bulleted list or an extensive document, but you should have one.
Unintended leakage - updating your LinkedIn profile with info not otherwise disclosed - An example was sighted where someone wrote on their LinkedIn profile they working with X technology at their employer, a fact that was supposed to be confidential. As most all LinkedIn profiles have a public element to them, this was picked up my the media. I too have found out about colleagues and friends changing jobs via LinkedIn before they announce it, as they decided to update their profile first, then query me puzzled how I knew before they told anyone.
Ask yourself, what is your risk tolerance? - The term is risk “management” not aversion or avoidance. You should have some tolerance as to what amount of risk is acceptable, something ideally part of your social media plan.
Social media governance is not a green field - in many cases it builds on policy you already have - As most companies have been on the Internet in some form for at least the last decade, they should have some plans and risk governance in place for that activity. Social media governance isn’t then starting from scratch, rather building upon what is already in place.
People are mining your digital residue - Wherever you go online, from using Facebook and Twitter to signing up for services, you are leaving a digital trail behind you. Firms and marketers are gathering this information and using it to make offers to you. Where this is hard to completely avoid, it is something you should be aware of whenever you share information.
Set measurable objectives - more than likes and followers - When putting together your social media plan, you should have real, measurable objectives that actually mean something. Having a zillion followers doesn’t mean anything if you have no engagement with them.
Think about crisis communication before you get into one - part of your social policies - Many companies have crisis communications plans in place, and building on them to address a crisis which is played out over social media is a logical progression for those plans.
Staff social media properly - policy, people, monitoring - If you’re going to do anything in a business, do it right, and if you don’t do it fully, have the plan in place to expand it.
Hot topic after #smwgovernance - Manager Resigns Over a Nokia Windows Phone Tweet? http://t.co/eELUcO9X via @thenokiablog #smwchicago - This article came out shortly after the panel where a Microsoft manager resigned after he talked about an unreleased Nokia mobile device running the Windows Mobile 7 operating system, which was a violation of confidentiality policy, something he could have been fired over. An unfortunate example building upon the topic of this panel.
I welcome your thoughts and opinions on this panel in the comments.
Rather than create the “same old” unboxing video, where I go to a quiet corner of my office and unwrap the package and give my first impressions of the device on video, I decided to go “on location” this time. I chose to film it in front of the Cloud Gate artwork (better known as “the Bean”) at Millennium Park in Chicago.
As I was making the video, both the E7 and my trust workhorse the E72 came to mind. Though the C7 has a little smaller screen than the E7, it also has a much smaller price – it has been as low as free when renewing a contract with T-Mobile. I know this, as this is how I got a C7 of my own after I sent back the evaluation device. Where it is a safe assumption I like the C7 as I acquired one, I don’t want to get too far into the evaluation than this video. Currently I swap between the C7 and the E72 as needed.
I welcome your comments – positive and snarky – on the video, and the device as well. And let me know how obvious it is that I was interrupted by a panhandler when I was making the video! Your comments are welcome here on The Hot Iron as well as on YouTube.
You can read the article here on the Web Central Station Web site, which is a Canadian Web site sponsored by Microsoft. In short, as I have always said to my consulting clients at Dunkirk Systems, LLC, it is about the right tools or technology for the project.
I've always been an interactive guy. With crowds, as a DJ and improv performer. With causes, raising money and awareness for non-profits such as the fight against liver disease. With customers, as a Web strategist and developer.
Interaction defines me, and now it’s leading me down a new professional path.
In recent years, my professional interaction has meant building Web sites and Web applications strategically integrated with marketing, sales, HR and other key functions. Through Dunkirk Systems, LLC, advising corporations to small businesses as a Web consultant fulfills a lifelong goal. And it provides incredible insight into different businesses – where I listen, collaborate, help think through strategic implications and costs, and ultimately, build some pretty tough sites.
Consulting independently has been nothing short of amazing. Where I have always worked with some equally amazing people on a project basis, it has not been a full-time practice. The interactive side of me is pushing me toward a new path of engaging again directly with a team. After much soul-searching, I’ve decided to seek a partner for my current business, or to take on a new professional role with an established firm.
At this point, I’m open to where talent, experience and any interesting opportunities may lead. My LinkedIn profile sums up my tenure as a manager, director and consultant – delivering Web solutions across development technologies, taking a big picture approach with comprehensive understanding of all aspects from strategy to building sites to the ensuring sites thrive with analytics, SEO, SEM and social media.
As usual here on The Hot Iron, and on such weighty matters, I’m first interacting with you. What kinds of experiences do you have with shifts in your career path – corporate, startup, independent consulting or other scenarios? Do you have suggestions or perhaps an opportunity for an interactive guy like me? I would love to hear your voice in this conversation that I’ve only mulled about on my own (and with my lovely wife) in recent months.